Trippin – Barcelona

So I apologize in advance if my posts this week aren’t as frequent.  I’m out on the road again and as usual, I’m crazy busy.  By the time I get out of work, which isn’t too late (I’ve worked much later), I’m wiped out (one of the many perks of pregnancy) and either have more work to do in my room or just pass out.  But this is my last work trip until the baby’s born.  Getting into my third trimester in a matter of a couple weeks.  Wow we’re almost there!

Anyhow, this “Trippin” post is a long time coming.  I have SO MANY images from Barcelona that I wanted to share with you all.  And as much as I tried to downsize the amount of pictures I shared, I just couldn’t.  The city is just that beautiful and amazing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Places to go, things to see guide:

  • La Boqueria Mercado:  The infamous food market on Las Ramblas.  Indulge in fresh produce, fish, meats, pastries, or tapas.  But be warned this is a tourist destination, so prices will be expensive.  For a smaller market at a cheaper price, try Santa Caterina Market in the El Born district.
  • Las Ramblas:  Do walk up or down Las Ramblas and watch the entertainers, but mind your wallets because there are plenty of people pickpocketing around this area.  They’re keen on determining who the tourists are.
  • Barrio Gotico:  Walk around the Gothic district and visit La Seu Catedral.  Also, enjoy the architecture of the district.
  • Passeig de Gracia:  Walk down this street and there are tons of luxury shops to shop at.  If shopping isn’t your thing, two Antoni Gaudi structures are on this street:  Casa Battlo and La Pedrera.  I definitely recommend you go to at least one of them.  We would’ve gone to both but due to cost we decided to go to La Pedrera because of the roof top view.
  • Antoni Gaudi:  All the structures he built from Casa Battlo, La Pedrera, Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Placa Gaudi, etc.  While his aesthetic is different and may be an acquired taste, it is definitely interesting to go into these attractions/museums and see how he was inspired by nature or something as small as draping chains.
  • Park Guell:  One of the higher spots in Barcelona.  Go here to get a panoramic view of the beautiful city and the coastline.  Or enjoy the various structural elements that Gaudi designed.  But just a warning:  it’s a hike to get up here, but SO WORTH IT.  BEA.YOU.TEE.FUL view.
  • La Sagrada Familia:  Another Gaudi structure to go to.  Although its been deemed a working church, they only have full masses here during certain occasions.  Definitely worth a visit just to at least see the outside.  One side is the Nativity Facade which Gaudi oversaw while he was alive and the other is the Passion.  The intricacies and detail of the nativity facade are UNBELIEVABLY ornate.  INSANE!
  • Camp Nou:  Barça, Barça, Barrrrrrça!  If you can, go to a FC Barcelona game.  We were lucky enough to catch the first game of the year due to the La Liga strike.  The atmosphere during a game here I’d say is somewhere between going to a boxing match and a football game.  Surreal!  Love it!
  • Mount Tibidabo:  Want more spectacular views of the city of Barcelona and the coastline?  Go to Mount Tibidabo.  Enjoy the sites with a beer or ride a couple rides or tour the church at the top of the mountain.
  • Tapas:  Who doesn’t love an assortment of mini plates to share to taste everything?!?  LOVE tapas, especially patatas bravas (roasted potatoes with spicy mayo).
  • Paella:  You’re on the coast so the seafood is fresh!  Definitely indulge.  7 Portes is one of the older restaurants in Barcelona.  A bit pricier but definitely worth it.  One of the best meals we had during our vacation.
  • Ride the metro:  We didn’t take the hop on hop off bus.  You certainly can, but public experience decent public transportation (London, Barcelona, Singapore, etc.)  We decided to take the sites in by walking around the city and riding the metro.  Definitely enjoyed touring this way, but we missed out on seeing Olympic Park and Montjuic (“Jew” hill).
  • Be a beach bum:  Go to Barceloneta and enjoy the Mediterranean sea.  If it’s too touristy for you, I believe you can ride a train to a neighboring city beach.

I can’t explain why I love this city so much!  It was ridiculously touristy, but there’s so much here.  History, art, music, religion, food, etc.  A little something for everyone.  I hope to go again some day soon.

The Dressing Room – It’s still summer

I’m going to share a secret that’s not so secret, I LOVE anything blue or purple.  I LOVE it even more if you combined the two colors together.  Maybe it’s because they’re cool colors and exude calmness, which I am not.  But I have always loved purple and blue.  When I buy clothes I have to tell myself to stop gravitating towards blue or purple items.  I’m usually good about it but sometimes I’m not successful.

I know you’re saying hey it’s fall, why are you sharing an outfit post with shorts.  Because I it still is summer… especially if you’re in the Bay Area, it’s an Indian summer.  It’s cooled down this week with all the rain passing through, but it’s supposed to heat up next week, getting up to the high 70s to mid 80s.  But sadly I won’t enjoy the weather because I’m heading to the UK next week for work where it’s supposed to be chilly and rainy.  (cue sound:  whammmmmp whaaaammmppp.  you’re in the uk, stop complaining!)  Usually by this time I’m ready for fall and to take out my boots and chunky sweaters, but for some reason this year I’m not.  I think I’m still in love with the vacation we took a month ago and the association with summer and summer clothing.

Anyhow, while in Barcelona, I originally started the day wearing just a white tank top with my purple chino shorts from Banana Republic because it was supposed to be hot.  We went up to Mount Tibadabo to overlook the city and it got a bit chilly while at the elevated level, so I took my chambray button up out of the backpack and put it on to keep myself warm.  I LOVE how the outfit came together.  I love the color combo.

One top of Mount Tibadabo, overlooking Barcelona.  LOVE THIS CITY!  Do you see the Mediterranean Sea in the back?  ❤

In front of one of the two trams we took to get to the top of Mount Tibidabo

The outfit

Button-up:  Converse All-Star button up chambray, Target
Shorts:  Chino, Banana Republic Factory
Tank top:  Old Navy
Bracelets:  Morocco, H&M
Watch:  Swatch
Shoes:  Corones, Toms (similar style here)
Sunglasses:  Vintage, Black and Brown boutique in San Jose
Purse:  Faux Tory Burch (with logo folded inwards to not make it as obnoxious looking), Canal Street NYC

I think there may be another outfit post featuring these shorts.  With that outfit I practiced colorblocking and it was THE perfect summer outfit for colorblocking.  LOVE!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Trippin – Madrid

First stop on our trip.  We should’ve done better research in terms of selecting which dates to go to Madrid.  We didn’t know until a couples day before we left that the World Youth Day Festival was going on while we were going to be there.  Due to WYD, the Pope was schedule to celebrate mass in Madrid and arrived the day before we arrived.  We arrived on a Saturday and the majority of the WYD attendants were headed to the Papal site (to camp out for mass the next day) via metro.  Here’s the kicker it was the SAME line that we needed to take from the airport to our hotel.  😦 It was miserable.  However with everyone out at the Papal site on Saturday and Sunday, it left the city open for our tourist adventures without ridiculous crowds everywhere.  Can’t say the same about Monday though.

Madrid is definitely a historical city.  If you’re a history buff, it’s definitely the place to go.  Also if you’re into architecture, but I’d say that about most European cities.  I think buildings in most European cities are beautiful.  They range from historical to modern.  It definitely gives the city character.

In love with the buildings

Gran Via

Madrid has a special place in my heart.  When I was younger, I used to come to Spain almost every Spring Break for 3 years when we lived in Naples.  My Godfather lived in Seville, so we would visit him.  We went to Madrid on one of those trips.  When we came here, my dad told me we were great great great descendants of King Felipe.  Being the gullible child that I am, I thought Felipe was his last name and we were actually related.  😛  But it gave me joy to be in front of the Palacio Real again after 20 years.  This time with my husband.  While it’s nice going to places together that neither of us have been to before, it’s also nice sharing a city with the other.  It’s a different experience and appreciation.

Palacio Real

My favorite thing in Madrid?  Going to a bullfight.  While I LOVED the history and the buildings, it was exciting to do something different other than sightsee.  It is a gruesome sport and I did have to turn my head away.  Poor bulls, but it was fun.  If you watch the Madrid video, the hubs does explain bullfights are a Sunday spectacle in Spain, especially from May to October.

 Outside the bullfighting arena.

Another favorite?  Trying to have Spanish contests with the husband.  Whenever we had to ask a question or order something, we’d take turns and grade each other.  He won most of the time.  He got bonus points for speaking complete Spanish (even through it was broken) to an employee at a mobile provider store asking for data only on our unlocked phone.  I observed as this conversation was going on.  It well but it was definitely an interesting 5 minutes.

Least favorite thing?  Dealing with the crowds and loud teenagers.  I tried to tell myself, I was one at one point but that thought process was not working.  😛  Madrid would have still been touristy if WYD was not going on but I’d like to think not as chaotic at some points.  Perhaps I’m just getting older. 😦

Lets take a trip via pictures shall we?

Puerto Del Sol

Plaza del Sol y Sol Metro.  See the crowds and the flags?  WYD kids.

Plaza Mayor.  You may remember this if you’ve watched Vantage Point.

Interesting deco on the buildings at Plaza Mayor

Parque Del Retiro

Sideview of San Francisco Cathedral

The front of the Cathedral.  See more WYD kids in the background?

Inside the church


Santiago Bernabeau Stadium – Home of Real Madrid

There are more photos of the various sites we visited in Madrid, but I wanted to share my favorite pictures that I took of the city.  Up next is our food adventure in Madrid.  It’s a goodie!  Stay tuned!